Despite the CIA intelligence report confirming Russia engaged in an "influence campaign" to undermine Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election, financial terrorism expert Kevin Freeman told TheBlaze he remains unconvinced. The report, he says, isn't necessarily inaccurate; Russia does engage in cyber meddling. But what bothers Freeman is how Democrats are overplaying the situation to the media and the American people to cast Clinton as a victim and delegitimize President-elect Donald Trump's win. Because it speaks to a problem Freeman has been concerned with since the 2008 election and recently wrote a blog post on that has been getting a lot of attention: the politicization of the intelligence community.
Freeman is CEO of Freeman Global Holdings, LLC, a group that specializes in global equity and provides consulting expertise on the global financial industry as well as economic warfare, financial terrorism and economic risk analysis. He was a subcontractor for the Department of Defense and prepared a report on Economic Warfare for the Assistant Secretary for Special Operations/Low-Intensity Conflict, the principal civilian adviser to the Secretary of Defense for matters such as counterterrorism; unconventional warfare; direct action; special reconnaissance; foreign internal defense; civil affairs, information and psychological operations; and counterproliferation of WMD. He has also authored two books on the subject of financial terrorism, Secret Weapon and Game Plan.
He is currently in the development stages to host a new show at TheBlaze called "Economic War Room" focusing on the nexus of the financial sector and terrorism. But the article he wrote for his personal blog detailing his encounter a few years back in a private meeting with a senior staff member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence is what has been bringing him some notoriety lately.
In it, he tells of laying out a claim of proof that U.S. elections were vulnerable to being “hacked” by Russia, China, or others. Specifically, he had proof he says that Russia had tried to intervene in the 2008 election by manipulating the stock market toward a recession because Russia, at the time, favored a Barack Obama win. And a downturn in the stock market generally meant the party in power — the party of Sen. John McCain (R.-AZ) and President George W. Bush — would be voted out.
I carried with me the evidence of what had taken place in September 2008, just before the historic election that placed then Senator Obama into the White House...
...Before the meeting, I had been told that my research regarding purposed attacks on our nation’s financial system had been suppressed because “it didn’t fit the Administration’s narrative.” I guess the Administration didn’t want to publicize that someone may have purposed to attack the stock market just before an election. When you realize that stock market returns just prior to an election are highly correlated with election results, it becomes clear that manipulating the stock market could impact who became President...
Freeman was ultimately verbally berated in loud tones and choice words before being walked out on at that meeting. He says things went south when he uttered the following, "I know the IC (intelligence community) can sometimes be politicized." That was all it took for the door to be effectively slammed in his face.
Which explains why Freeman is baffled by the outrage coming from Democrats that Russia may have tried to influence the election in 2016. He had proof they were manipulating market information in 2008 to help Obama, but no one would listen because it "didn't fit the narrative."
"Can we really compare the seriousness of hacking Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s emails on 'spirit cooking' with a direct effort to take down the American economy and crash the stock market?," Freeman writes in his article.
And yet, the news cycle is consumed with reports that Russia tried to embarrass Clinton using her then-campaign chairman Podesta's emails (leaked by WikiLeaks), and Freeman is baffled and disturbed by the hypocrisy.
"No one looked at who leaked Donald Trump's tax information [during the campaign], just assuming it was Marla Maples. It might have been, but that was a greater privacy concern than Podesta's emails," he says.
His point? Hacking shouldn't only be taken seriously by the Democrats when they can use it to further their agenda. And that kind of politicization in the intelligence community is a direct threat to national security and an insult to the thousands of good, patriotic analysts and agents working in that community.
He wonders, he says, "which diplomats were kicked out of the country" after it was revealed that the Office of Management and Personnel was hacked in 2015 revealing the sensitive and personal information of average Americans.
"With WikiLeaks, we know the purpose was to embarrass [Clinton]," he says. "But the OPM hack could have ruined people's lives."
But Democrats and President Obama didn't try at that time to convene a special, bi-partisan commission to investigate that hack as Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) were attempting to do Tuesday to investigate the Russian hacking.
Jackson Lee said in her argument for a commission that it was of paramount importance to get to the bottom of "who conspired to alter our election."
"They're trying to make a political point and not trying to protect the American people," says Freeman of such protestations. And he wonders about the timing of the report, released as it was just before Obama leaves office but with enough time to plant the idea that Trump was helped by Russian hacking. Freeman has developed associations with some of the Trump transition team in the hope he can convince them to think about reforming the intelligence community, and to help curb some of the politicking done by Democrats around the intelligence gathering apparatus in general.
And how does he respond to Tuesday's late-breaking news that there's now as-yet uncorroborated evidence that the Trump campaign could have been in contact with Russian government intermediaries before the election? "The article and the media are trying to have it both ways: Trump was colluding with Russia. Trump was compromised by Russia. Clearly there is spin involved for political reasons but scant evidence shown of either at this point," he says. "Both could be true or one or the other. Or neither. But they are attempting to claim both."
"The point that I'm most concerned about, because the government has lost all credibility by politicizing the intelligence community, is that people like [WikiLeaks founder] Julian Assange look credible by comparison," he says. "And that's a problem. If the government was above politics, we could call [Assange] out. In this case he seems more credible than our own government. The only solution is for government to stop being hyper political."